Here’s our final installment from the military candidate’s success story that started here (Part 1); if you want a refresher from where we ended last time, go here (Part 3).
Despite drawing on the collective knowledge of all of the other applicants across various forums and blogs, I still made some fundamental mistakes, namely that I did not properly vet my first choice of recommender. This may have cost me my application at one of the most prestigious schools in the world (although it was unlikely to be the best fit for me).
After going through the process, and coming out the other side with the result I wanted, my top 3 recommendations would be:
- Plan ahead – way ahead. Before you start considering which schools to apply for, you need to have a career plan in mind. Know where you want to go and what you need to do to get there. This will not only help you during the application process, but also give you a steer towards projects/voluntary roles to take on in the run up to the application.
- Take charge of the things you can control. You can’t change your undergraduate scores, but you can make the most of the GMAT if you put the time in. If you are not already volunteering then get involved as early as possible. You choose your recommenders, so make sure they are happy to support you and will give your application the time it deserves.
- Don’t let MBA applications take over your life. Time management is key throughout the application process (and likely to be doubly so at business school) so set time limits for attacking your application (I found the pomodoro technique particularly helpful) and make time to spend with your loved ones or do something non-MBA related to clear your head.
We have to issue one final round of CONGRATULATIONS! to this intrepid explorer – what a great story! How inspiring! And chock-full of helpful advice. We dig it so completely when any one of you Brave Supplicants makes it into a great business school. This particular Brave Supplicant first contacted us in June 2013 so as you can see, it’s a long journey – yet with the release of Columbia’s essay questions this week, then that means that all of you can now dive in and get started! We already updated our Columbia MBA Application Guide for the 2014 season.
As to this former Brave Supplicant, we’re proud to have played a small part in this success but it was clearly due to this person’s hard work and determination that he ended up in such a great position.
So, we hope that this person has fun this summer and good luck with your move to a new city and GREAT JOB WITH THIS AMAZING CAREER TRANSITION YOU’RE MAKING! The first step is now complete. We hope to hear back from you again with news upon achievement of the next one!